• Clodagh Meaney

#MyQuarantineBody: the movement empowering people to say no to COVID-19 body-shaming

Give a middle finger to fat-phobia during a global pandemic

By Clodagh Meaney

#MyQuarantineBody is the Instagram movement empowering people to say no to COVID-19 body-shaming.

The hashtag began when New York photographer Anastasia Garcia posted a mirror selfie of her self-dubbed Quarantine Body to fight fat-phobia during the global health crisis.

"This is #MyQuarantineBody," she began the post.

"It’s definitely not as strong as it was a month ago— when I was in the gym every week— AND THATS OK! This body is my home. It’s keeping me safe and healthy during times of crisis. And now more than ever I am so thankful that I am healthy... when so many are losing their lives."

"I’ve been really disappointed seeing blatant body shaming and weight gain stigma around being quarantined. It feels tone deaf, short sighted and incredibly privileged."

"We are all quite literally in survival mode," she said. "So it’s ok if you’re not feeling your fittest, or if you’re eating differently (as many of us are due to grocery store availability). "

"Life right now is not business as usual and no amount of body stigma and fat shame is going to change that," Anastasia wrote.

"So today I am sharing #MyQuarantineBody, and am encouraging you to share yours."

"Post a selfie with the hashtag and share your story with me," she told followers, "we may not be able to change our current environment but we can empower each other toward self love in these difficult times."

It comes as toxic memes surrounding fatness began circulating on social media with people dubbing their weight gain as the "quarantine 15."

A number of other self-love advocates have got involved to stand up to body shaming.

Plus size blogger, and body positivity advocate, Sarah Chiwaya, also got involved in the movement.

Sarah shared the photograph to stand in solidarity with Anastasia against body shame and to encourage more self-love and self-acceptance.

"This is #MyQuarantineBody: Softer than before, cellulite lit, containing more snacks than usual, and most importantly EVERY bit as valid and worthy of self love and respect!" she wrote.

"I’ve been seeing far too many jokes and comments about gaining weight while we’re sheltering in place, so I’m standing with @anastasiagphototo stop the body shame and to encourage self love and acceptance even during times of crisis."

"Instead of self deprecating and reinforcing the message that fat is the worst thing that could happen to any of us, let’s be kind to our bodies and thoughtful with our words (especially since what might seem to be innocuous can actually be very triggering to people in recovery from eating disorders)," she explained.

"We’re all in this together, and doing what we can to take care of each other’s mental health and well being is important too."

"If you are worried about the change in routine, focus on how you FEEL instead of how much you weigh (I’ve found that doing morning stretches and midday dance “parties” can boost my mood when I’m going through it)," she encouraged.

Ashley McIntyre, a sustainable fashion stylist and self-love advocate from North Carolina shared her Quarantine Body, where she spoke about fat-phobia.

"I’ve seen one too many jokes, comments and memes about gaining weight while we’re under stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders, and I’m officially over it," she wrote.

"So I’m here on IG in my underwear to remind you that your body - no matter what it looks like today - is worthy of love, acceptance and respect."

"Its infuriating to see that body-shaming and fat-phobia can’t take a break, even during this globally traumatic experience. Fatness is not a moral failing. (TBH it never was, but it DEFINITELY isn’t now.)," she explained.

"Getting bigger while trying to survive a global pandemic is far from the worst thing that can happen to a person right now. We’re all in survival mode and the act of a body trying to survive can look so different from person to person."

Ashley reminded followers to be kinder to your body.

"Be kind to yourself, including your physical form. Body positivity and self-love are hard things in normal times, and some days I struggle to get to neutral. But I can say for sure that I’m grateful for this bod. It’s the one I have, it’s the one that carries my spirit through this mortal coil and it’s the one that’ll be here when outside opens back up. And for that, I am grateful," she said.

You too can take part in the movement by posting a selfie to Instagram with the hashtag #MyQuarantineBody.

© 2020 by EMPWR

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